eg Chinese Voices
No. 36 | 13.03.2022
The fifth session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
China is accelerating its contribution to global growth
Fu Minjie
Fu Minjie(付敏杰) is an associate researcher at the Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Context

In 2022, China sets an economic growth target of around 5.5 percent, which is the lowest in the last decades. Since 2010, China’s economy has been slowing down, arousing concerns among some economists. Based on international comparative studies, Fu Minjie believes that the context of the country's slowdown is the "lost decade" of the world economy. Moreover, from 1980 to 2020, China's economic contribution to the global economy accelerated spectacularly and was not affected by the economic slowdown since 2010.

Key points

  • The ten-year average of China's GDP growth rate decelerated from 10.38% in 2000-2010 to 7.19% in 2010-2020, a deceleration of about 30%. In the same period, the world's economic growth dropped by 70% (current dollar) and declined by 30% (constant 2010 dollar). It reveals a common issue in the world, i.e., a sluggish economy, especially the economic stagnation in developed countries.
  • In current dollars, China's contribution to world growth increased 1.48%, 7.81%, 14.99%, and 46.57% in the last four decades 1980-1990, 1990-2000, 2000-2010, and 2010-2020.
  • Measured in constant 2010 US dollars, China’s economic contribution to the global economy has been as high as 36.18% between 2010 and 2020, up from 4.84% during 1980-1990.
  • China's contribution to world economic growth, as measured by 2017 purchasing power parity, has also been increasing. From 5.7% in 1980-1990 and 11.21% in 1990-2000, it increased to 21.94% in 2000-2010 and 28.21% in 2010-2020, although the acceleration slowed down.
  • The contribution made by the US to the world economy peaked in 1990-2020 and dropped by half during 2010-2020.

Summary

Since 1978, China’s economy has been deeply integrated into the global economy. According to Fu, the country’s contribution to the world economy, and thus its influence on the world, is not only credited to domestic economic policies, but also to international factors. Observing the slowdown in China's economic growth alone tends to lead to pessimistic conclusions. Actually, the rise in China's economic contribution and the acceleration of the technological catch-up in the post-2010 economic slowdown scenario show the strength of China's GDP base and growth trend, which is what will underpin China's economy for the next three decades.

Dual perspectives on interpreting the Ukrainian crisis: geopolitics and a financial game
Wang Xiangsui
Wang Xiangsui(王湘穗) is professor and director of the Research Center of Strategic Issues at Beijing University, and a retired senior Colonel of the People’s Liberation Army

Context

The crisis in Ukraine has not only caused a shock to the world political landscape but is also having a huge impact on the world economy. According to Wang Xiangshui, the crisis in Ukraine should be analyzed from both geoeconomic and geopolitical perspectives. The crisis in Ukraine is largely a continuation of the longstanding geopolitical conflict between Russia and Europe and the United States, as well as a reflection of the competition between the US dollar and Euro monetary systems.

Key points

  • At the end of the 20th century, Europe launched the European Union and the Eurozone, which began to break away from the control of the US dollar system; especially, since the financial crisis in 2008, the growth of the Eurozone has posed an increasingly serious challenge to the hegemony of the US dollar.
  • The EU and Russia have strong economic ties, and if Russia were to integrate into the Eurozone, it would make Europe an important pole in the world, which would be difficult to dislodge. Therefore, the US is using the Ukraine crisis to create conflicts between the EU and Russia.
  • There is no quick solution in Ukraine: the West cannot quickly solve the crisis by military means, especially since Ukraine and EU are heavily dependent on Russian resources; Russia is constrained by the monetary systems of both the US dollar and the Euro in international trade. Each side has its own strengths and weaknesses. Ukraine could become a long-lasting "ulcer" affecting Europe.
  • The outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine has dragged Europe back, to some extent, to the traditional territorial sovereignty disputes. It slows down the momentum of European development and gives the US an important lever to influence European politics and economics.
  • The crisis in Ukraine objectively promotes the deepening of Sino-Russian cooperation. The cooperation between Russia and China will further orient the center of gravity of the Eurasian continent toward Asia, a trend that is of great significance for curbing global hegemony led by the US and pushing towards a pluralist world order.

Summary

The author notes that the development of the crisis in Ukraine proves that the US-led global order has entered a period of disintegration. The actions of the United States in the Ukraine crisis shows that the United States is no longer the superpower that it once was. The US Asia-Pacific strategy will be restrained by the crisis in Ukraine. By provoking the Ukraine crisis to strike Russia, the US has pushed Russia to the East. The US also wants to contain the development of the eurozone through the Ukraine crisis, which will lead to the intensification of the contradictions between Europe and the United States. The US is not as powerful as it used to be, and if it confronts Russia, China, and Europe, it will make the strategic mistake of making enemies everywhere.

Why China is regulating Internet algorithms?
Xiong Jie
Xiong Jie(熊节) is an expert on Internet governance, and the founder of Maku Insight

Context

On March 1, 2022, China's Internet Information Service Algorithm Recommendation Management Regulations were enacted, and Internet users will now be able to decline personalized recommendations. The Regulations are a global precedent for regulating specific algorithms. Xiong Jie analyzes the necessity for regulation on algorithm technology and the significance of the Regulations.

Key points

  • The Regulations are the world's first to specifically regulate algorithmic recommendations, a service which provides personalized recommendations by tracking users' activities on the Internet.
  • Algorithmic recommendations may reinforce the "information cocoon" effect, and may be used to purposefully guide people, thus influencing public perceptions and even political decisions.The Trump election and Brexit are notorious examples of political manipulation through algorithmic recommendation techniques.
  • The measures required in these current Regulations, such as algorithmic mechanism examination and verification, technology ethics review, and allowing users to turn off algorithmic recommendations, have all been proposed in other countries long ago. However, the international Internet giants have never put these suggestions into practice, and often argue that "algorithms based on deep learning cannot be reviewed".
  • Deep learning relies on mathematical tools that often the engineers themselves do not know why the algorithms work. Google, for example, has boasted that its image recognition algorithms use a neural network 19 layers-deep (VGG19), but Google's photo service has been repeatedly exposed for its racial profiling and stereotyping.
  • The Regulations, on the one hand, force Internet enterprises to establish algorithm audit capabilities; while on the other hand, require Internet enterprises to restrain their own behavior, guide algorithm recommendations for good, dissuade the creation of information cocoons, and prohibit setting-up algorithm models that violate laws and regulations or violate ethics by inducing users to become addicted and over-consume.

Summary

Xiong explains that the Regulations are new and set a global precedent in algorithm regulation, algorithm mechanism audits, and technology ethics review; there is a strong possibility that their implementation may be a new challenge for regulatory agencies. Although Internet companies are required to explain the algorithmic recommendation service and allow users to turn off the option of personalized recommendation, they may still not inform users in a "prominent manner" and so on. This will have negative impacts on the implementation of the Regulations.The author hopes that the Regulations, along with other subsequent regulatory policies and implementation measures, will bring algorithmic technology under reasonable scrutiny.

How the rural collective economy contributes to common prosperity
Chen Xiwen
Chen Xiwen (陈锡文) is a member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, chairperson of the Agriculture and Rural Committee of the National People’s Congress

Context

Recently, the central government published the “No.1 document” that focuses on rural issues since 2004. It vows to explore the development path of a new type of rural collective economy. Chen Xiwen points out that the rural collective economy has played a huge role in curbing the urban-rural income gap since the reform and opening up over 40 years ago and can continue to contribute to the common prosperity of the 770 million people from rural areas.

Key points

  • China's major experiences in raising peasants' income include the prevention of a large-scale return to poverty, strengthening the construction of rural infrastructure, supporting and protecting agriculture, and developing new rural businesses.
  • China grants equal rights to peasants by establishing the collective ownership system of rural land and ensures that every peasant has land and housing, including the tens of millions of migrant workers who have returned to their hometowns due to economic shocks. This system prevents polarization and the "poverty trap" of Latin American countries.
  • The reform of the rural land system, including increasing compensation for land expropriation and allowing rural collectives to enter the market for business operations , has increased the income of rural collective economic organizations (农村集体经济组织 nóngcūn jítǐ jīngjì zǔzhī). The proportion of rural collective economic organizations with annual incomes of more than 100,000 yuan has increased from 13.9 to 33.1 percent between 2015-2020.
  • Rural collective economic organizations provide new employment opportunities and income sources for peasants and returning migrant workers through the creation of new industries. By November 2021, nearly 94 percent of the 15.17 million returning migrant workers were employed, of which 30 percent were employed in agriculture and 70 percent in other industries.

Summary

Chen points out that if the common prosperity policy should make more obvious and substantial progress by 2035, one critical indicator will be the significant reduction of the income gap between urban and rural residents. Although there are still problems in the development of the rural collective economy, such as unbalanced development in the east and west, China should pay more attention to the development of the rural collective economy, so that it can play a greater and more active role in avoiding polarization, eliminating poverty, improving peasants' income, and achieving common prosperity.

Yan’an Rectification Movement and the Sinicization of Marxism
Shi Zhongquan
Shi Zhongquan (石仲泉) is former deputy director of the Party History Research Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China

Context

Although the CPC's philosophical study campaign in Yan'an after 1935 had raised its theoretical level, there was still an open question as to whether to lead the Chinese revolution based on resolutions and instructions from the Comintern or based on the Chinese reality. Both the Kuomintang's anti-communist attacks since 1939 and the tragic defeat of the South Anhui Incident (皖南事变 wǎnnán shìbiàn) in 1941 made Mao Zedong realize the importance and urgency of unifying the ideology of the whole Party. In his article, Shi Zhongquan reviews the historical background and process of the Yan'an Rectification Movement (延安整风运动 Yán'ān zhěngfēng yùndòng) and points out its important role in promoting the Sinicization of Marxism.

Key points

  • Based on Mao Zedong's 1941 speech "Reform Our Study" emphasizing that "Marx and Engels taught us to start from objective reality, not from subjective wishes", and "subjectivism is the great enemy of the Communist Party", the Yan'an Rectification Movement began.
  • The Movement reviewed the past successes and failures of the Central Committee's line, reached consensus on historical issues of the whole Party, and issued its first "historical resolution", which highlighted the social and ideological causes of the "leftist" errors.
  • Ideology and Party-building, emphasizing the "three fine styles of conduct"(三大作风 sān dà zuòfēng), were developed: combining theory with practice, maintaining close ties with the people, and conducting criticism and self-criticism (批评与自我批评 pīpíng yǔ zìwǒ pīpíng), which distinguishes the CPC from any other political party.
  • After the Movement, the Party realized the correctness of Mao and his theories. In 1945, the Seventh Party Congress formally established "Mao Zedong Thought" as the guiding ideology of the Party.

Summary

The Yan'an Rectification Movement transformed the Marxist position, views, and methods into a methodology unique to the CPC. The term "seeking truth from facts" became the most common expression of the Chinese version of the Marxist line of thought practiced by the CPC. In order to study historical issues and clarify the correct line, CPC carried out criticism and self-criticism within the Party. Zhang Wentian, Bo Gu, Wang Jiaxiang and other leaders of the Central Committee made a public review of dogmatic thinking, while Zhou Enlai wrote more than 50,000 words of study notes, and Mao Zedong also reviewed the mistakes of the Movement. The Yan'an Rectification Movement lasted three years and ended with unprecedented unity in the Party, making it possible to remove wrong tendencies from the guiding ideology of the Party and laying out a victorious path for the Chinese revolution.

(Chinese Voices will continue to interpret the historical context and developmental logic of Marxism's Sinicization)

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